The term “3D” has been used quite a bit over the past couple of months, and as it stands today, there’s a fair bit of content available to those with capable hardware. But on the mobile side of things, support is just beginning to creep in. The first available option was from ASUS, with its G51J 3D, and we’re taking a look at it here.
Before we tackle the results, let’s quickly review our basic notebook testing methodology. The first step in preparing the notebook is to completely wipe the factory OS and install our own (Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit). This is to prevent pre-installed applications from skewing our performance results. We then use the included DVD-ROM to install all of the necessary drivers. Also, Windows Search Indexing and a few other Windows services are manually disabled, to further help with producing accurate and repeatable results.
Once the machine is prepared for benchmarking, it’s shut down and set on a flat surface with plenty of room for airflow until it’s completely cooled down. Once benchmarking gets underway, the machine is boot and left to sit idle at the Windows desktop for five minutes, at which point testing begins. Each test is run through twice, with a reboot taking place in between each run.
To test notebooks out through some common usage scenarios, we use PCMark Vantage to do a full run through our machine to see where it excels, and also a couple of real-world applications, such as Adobe Lightroom, TMPGEnc Xpress, dBpoweramp and 3ds Max 2009. Each benchmark we use is run twice over (with a reboot in between) to assure that what we saw the first time is accurate. Our temperature tests are captured with the help of a temperature gun.
ASUS G51J 3D
PCMark Vantage PCMark Memories TV and Movies Gaming Music Communication Productivity Hard Drive
4647 3884 3886 4067 4275 3844 4172 4088
3686 2903 2673 3762 3087 3663 3812 4019
6254 4078 4556 6340 5920 4425 5281 3958
HD Tune Pro 3.5 Minimum Average Maximum Burst CPU Usage
42.5 MB/s 65.7 MB/s 82.0 MB/s 72.2 MB/s 1.4 %
42.6 MB/s 67.5 MB/s 84.9 MB/s 72.3 MB/s 2.7 %
43.1 MB/s 67.8 MB/s 85.2 MB/s 72.3 MB/s 1.8 %
Adobe Lightroom 2 100 10MP RAW to JPEG
TMPGEnc Xpress 4.6 720p Recode
dBpoweramp Convert 100 FLAC to MP3
3DS Max 2009 Dog Render
Sandra 2009 Bandwidth Int Bandwidth Float Memory Latency
4657 MB/s 4652 MB/s 106 ns
5309 MB/s 5309 MB/s 108 ns
13654 MB/s 13665 MB/s 81 ns
Temperatures Main Exhaust Before Boot Main Exhaust 5 Minutes Idle Main Exhaust 30 Minutes Stress 30 Minutes Touchpad Center 30 Minutes Center of Keyboard Bottom of LCD
24.9 °C (76.8 °F) 30.1 °C (86.2 °F) 67.3 °C (153.14 °F) 30.9 °C (87.6 °F) 36.4 °C (97.5 °F) 42.2 °C (108.0 °F)
26.4 °C (79.5 °F) 34.1 °C (93.4 °F) 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) 27.3 °C (81.1 °F) 30.3 °C (86.5 °F) 26.3 °C (79.34 °F)
28.1 °C (82.6 °F) 37.8 °C (100.04 °F) 42.5 °C (108.5 °F) 28.3 °C (82.94 °F) 30.7 °C (87.26 °F) 26.4 °C (79.34 °F)
While the G51J 3D is so similar in design to the G51Vx, the best comparison above is to the W90, as both feature quad-cores. That said, the differences that Intel’s latest architecture is rather stark. The default clock for the W90 was 2.0GHz, so Lynnfield’s Turbo truly shines here. Where memory is concerned, there’s just no comparison. The bandwidth can be argued to mean little, but even the latency shows a great improvement.
From a temperatures standpoint, the G51J 3D manages to get a bit hotter than the G51Vx, likely due to the more robust processor. Even during regular use I noticed the notebook to get hotter than the previous model we looked at. The heat is primarily exported through the left side, and is rarely noticed unless you happen to set a glass there, or rest your hand during regular use.
Of course, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Below are screenshots from various games we loaded up on the notebook, with the basic setting configuration listed below each one. Rather than deliver Min/Avg/Max FPS reports, for our notebook reviews we instead just take a screenshot of the game with FRAPS. Unfortunately, I foolishly forgot to enable the FPS counter when grabbing screenshots, but you can be rest assured, what you see below is with very playable framerates.
Batman Arkham Asylum – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
Left 4 Dead 2 – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
GRID – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
For the most part, I was quite happy with the gaming performance that the GTX 260M delivered, and it was about on par with what I expected to see. The vast majority of today’s games will run at max detail settings just fine, and some can even use anti-aliasing. The exception is of course Crysis Warhead (which as far as games are concerned, is a total glutton for system resources).
Because the 3D mode essentially renders the same frame twice, you can expect performance to be literally halved when enabled. For most games shown above, this isn’t a problem, simply because they achieve such high frame rates to begin with, but with others, it can be. Crysis, for example, doesn’t run that well even with modest settings, and it’s no surprise given that it’s a totally brutal game on hardware. For what it’s worth, the 3D effect in that title isn’t too good to begin with, so you aren’t missing much by keeping the 3D off.
Two other games that experience notable slowdowns with 3D enabled are Arkham Asylum and Modern Warfare 2. The former can reach very playable framerates simply by disabling anti-aliasing.. that’s it. It’s nothing major, and when in 3D, you won’t really notice the AA missing. For Modern Warfare 2, the 3D effect isn’t superb to begin with, and with it enabled, the game is a bit laggy with 4xAA, so disabling it is the route to go.
I’ll talk a bit more about the 3D aspect on the following page, along with my wrap-up.